Standing Idol by Andy Feuerstein-Rudin


In this week’s Haftara it says in ספר ישעיהו פרק מ"א פסוק ה , ראו איים וייראו קצות הארץ יחרדו קרבו ויאתיון,“See island dwellers, what a miracle I performed and be afraid!”  The פסוק tells us that even those who live at the ends of the Earth should be shaking when they hear about Avraham’s miraculous victory over the four kings. 

After the war, the King of Sedom went to Avraham to beg him for favors, and Avraham’s response to the King of Sedom’s request was “Give me back all your prisoners and take all of your spoils.” 

The Navi calls on all the nations, even those that live far away on islands, and tells them to abandon their idols.  Avraham’s reason to the nations why they had to get rid of their idols was that Avraham’s story proves to us that Hashem gives success to those who serve him.

In פרק מ"א פסוק ז, two פסוקים later, the Navi continues and says, ויחזק חרש את צירף מחליק פטיש את הולם פעם אמר לדבק טוב הוא ויחזקיהו במסמכים לא ימוט, The carpenter who carves out the wooden idols encourages the smith (the one who overlays them with gold and silver) to work faster;  The one who smoothes the image with a hammer encourages the one who strikes at the anvil to beat the idol to shape.  When he bonds the metal to the wooden image with glue the worker says about the bonding ‘It is a good job!’” 

 ישעיהו mocks the idol worshippers who were more eager then ever to make idols, even after hearing the words of history.  The Midrash then continues and says that the Pasuk that was just stated hints to the fact that שם is like a carpenter since he helped his father build the ark.  Avraham should be called a smith because he tried to get rid of the idol worshipping and tried to bring them under the wings of Hashem’s שכינה.  Avraham should also be considered a hammer, due to the fact that he debated the truth with his fellow man, “hammering away” at them, until they were on the straight path. 

When the “carpenter” and the “smith” met after the battle against the four kings, they encouraged each other.  Avraham ”strengthened שם with nails.”  When we say that Avraham strengthened שם  we mean Avraham strengthened him in Mitzvot and Midot Tovot.


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